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Unlocking the water potential of agriculture - Key Facts









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    Book (series)
    2018 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition
    Accelerating progress towards the SDGs
    2018
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    During the last three years, progress at reducing undernourishment has slowed tremendously in Asia and the Pacific. After years of gains in combatting hunger, progress has stagnated in all parts of this vast region. Despite decades of economic growth, nearly half a billion people remain undernourished. Children, in particular, continue to face the burden of malnutrition – this region is home to more than half of the world’s malnourished children – with one child in every four below the age of five suffering from stunting. This is a colossal human loss, given the association between undernutrition and poor cognitive development, with severe lifelong consequences for these children. At the same time, and almost paradoxically, Asia and the Pacific has witnessed rapid growth in the number of overweight children and the serious consequences that entails for their future health and well-being. This double burden of malnutrition sees undernourished and overweight children living in the same communities and households and it can even occur within the same child. Efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition must go hand in hand with those to build and sustain peace and there is an urgent need to accelerate and scale up actions that strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity of people and their livelihoods to climate variability and extremes. As migration from rural to urban areas continues apace, particularly involving poorer families, urban malnutrition is another challenge facing many countries. In summary, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the world cannot meet the 2030 target of zero hunger if Asia and the Pacific – the world’s most populous region – is not leading the way. It is a hard reality but one that must be faced with a united determination to turn things around. For the first time, four UN agencies have come together to jointly assess the state of food security and nutrition in Asia and the Pacific. Together, we hope that the findings of this report will contribute to a more informed dialogue. Without doubt, all stakeholders must make much greater efforts to accelerate progress toward the goals of a healthy and hunger-free Asia and the Pacific. Action is needed now. The sense of urgency cannot be overstated.
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    Unlocking the potential of protected agriculture in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saving water and improving nutrition 2021
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    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic union of Arab states, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Unites Arab Emirates. The GCC was formed in 1981 to strengthen the members’ economic, social and political ties by harmonizing regulations in various fields including economy, finance, trade and customs. The region extends over a territory of 2 673 108 km2 and is home to about 50 million people. The common denominators of the GCC countries are limited natural fertile land, scarce water resources and harsh climate. Depending on the country, the agriculture sector may use as much as 75 percent of the national available water resources. This has enormous environmental costs and significantly affects the sustainability of overall development in the Arabian Peninsula. According to Al-Rashed and Sherif (2000), the lack of renewable water resources is one of the critical constraints to sustainable development in the GCC countries. Rainfall in the Arabian Peninsula is scarce and infrequent. Over-exploitation of fossil groundwater resources, mostly to meet irrigation demands and create greenery lands, has already affected the productivity of aquifers, both quantitatively and qualitatively, despite the fact that much of the freshwater demand in the GCC countries is already covered using desalinated water. Reducing water consumption and increasing water efficiency are essential to enhancing agriculture and moving towards increased self-sufficiency with the production of high-quality, safe and diversified foods in the GCC countries. Exploiting the full potential of protected agriculture should save significant amounts of water, which can be used not only for agriculture but for other needs as well.
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    Book (series)
    The State of Food and Agriculture 2020
    Overcoming water challenges in agriculture
    2020
    Intensifying water constraints threaten food security and nutrition. Thus, urgent action is needed to make water use in agriculture more sustainable and equitable. Irrigated agriculture remains by far the largest user of freshwater, but scarcity of freshwater is a growing problem owing to increasing demand and competition for freshwater resources. At the same time, rainfed agriculture is facing increasing precipitation variability driven by climate change. These trends will exacerbate disputes among water users and inequality in access to water, especially for small-scale farmers, the rural poor and other vulnerable populations. The State of Food and Agriculture 2020 presents new estimates on the pervasiveness of water scarcity in irrigated agriculture and of water shortages in rainfed agriculture, as well as on the number of people affected. It finds major differences across countries, and also substantial spatial variation within countries. This evidence informs a discussion of how countries may determine appropriate policies and interventions, depending on the nature and magnitude of the problem, but also on other factors such as the type of agricultural production system and countries’ level of development and their political structures. Based on this, the publication provides guidance on how countries can prioritize policies and interventions to overcome water constraints in agriculture, while ensuring efficient, sustainable and equitable access to water.

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